As we approach the February 9 trade deadline, the Boston Celtics are going to have some tough roster decisions to make.
One of the toughest decisions Boston faces will be what to do with Danilo Gallinari, who continues to rehab from an ACL injury. According to a January 6 report by NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg, the Celtics face a unique decision on Gallinari’s future with the team, as his contract could be used as a potential trade chip.
“It might be somewhat cold to trade him as he rehabs without having never played a minute in a Celtics jersey. Alas, it goes back to the bottom line: The Celtics are on a quest for a title, and you have to use every asset available. Gallinari’s $6.5 million salary creates avenues for adding talent that might preserve a diminished draft stash and potentially keeps from adding to a stiff luxury tax bill,” Forsberg wrote.
Gallinari joined the Celtics during the off-season, but currently, it doesn’t look like he will play for Boston this season, thus leaving them with an unusable roster slot that could potentially be used by another impact player. Although, the optics of trading a player who got injured before playing for you are something Brad Stevens will need to weigh up before making a decision.
Danilo Gallinari Posts Update On His Rehab
In a January 4 social media post, Gallinari could be seen running up and down a basketball court for the first time since sustaining his injury while with the Italian national team during the FIBA EuroBasket tournament.
In the caption of the 12-second video, Gallinari informs his fans that this is his first time running since his ACL tear, giving Celtics fans a glimmer of hope that he could return to the rotation before the end of the current season.
However, given Gallinari’s age (34), it may be wiser for him to remain away from the court for the duration of the current season so that he can come back next at full strength next season and continue to be an impactful scoring threat off the bench – be that in Boston or elsewhere.
Last season, Gallinari participated in 66 regular-season games for the Atlanta Hawks, averaging 11.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per game while shooting 48.5% from the two-point range and 38.1% from deep.
Celtics Trade Noah Vonleh
One saving grace for Gallinari could be the fact that the Celtics recently traded away Noah Vonleh to the San Antonio Spurs – as reported by ESPN’S Adrian Wojnarowski on January 5. Trading away Vonleh has allowed the Celtics to create a roster spot opening which will give them flexibility at the trade deadline.
Armed with multiple traded player exceptions and a disabled player exception, the Celtics should have some tools to help rebuild their roster if they’re looking to improve their current depth. However, it may be that Gallinari is their best trade chip, at which point, Forsberg is right – the Celtics need to do everything in their power to ensure they’re giving this championship-worthy roster the tools to succeed.